GA4 Open Funnel v/s Closed Funnel

Open Funnels v/s Closed funnels in GA4 are confusing a lot of people. So in this post, I will clarify the difference between the two and how to read the data.

First, let's see what a funnel is.

Funnel in GA4 allows you to visualize the steps users take to complete a task e.g. purchase, register, etc.  Using funnel reports you see how users progress through the steps and where they are dropping off from.

For example, a checkout funnel might have the following 4 steps

  1. Begin Checkout, this is the step when the user clicks on a button to start the check process.
  2. Add Shipping Information, this is where the users enter shipping information
  3. Add Payemtn Information
  4. Purchase - Final step of completing the purchase.

By using a funnel visualization, you can see how many users start the process and how many end up purchasing. You will also be able to see which steps of the funnel are creating friction and causing users to leave.

In GA4 you can have two different funnels,  Open, and Closed Funnels.

  • In a closed funnel, users must enter the funnel in the first step.
  • In an open funnel, users can enter the funnel at any step.

Users are only counted in the steps they complete in the specified sequence. If the user misses a step, they fall out of the funnel and aren't counted in any subsequent steps.

Let's take an example to understand both these types of funnels.

Let's say you have a funnel with 4 steps, A, B, C, and D.

In a closed funnel, any user who starts from steps B, C, or D is not counted in the funnel.  Only users who start at Step A are counted.

Users have to go to the steps for them to be counted in the subsequent steps.  So if a user goes to Step A and then directly goes to Step D the user is not counted in Step D. The user will be considered as a drop-off from Step A to Step B.

In the open funnel, a user can enter at any point and is counted at that point. So a user who enters the funnel at Step D will be counted at Step D. However if the user starts at A and then does not go to Step B but goes directly to Step D won't be counted at Step D and just like a closed funnel will be considered a drop-off.

A user who starts at Step B --> Step C --> Step A --> Step D will be counted in Step B and Step C and considered a drop-off from Step C. Step A and Step D won't be counted.

If a single user completes the steps of the funnel multiple times during the specified date range, only the first sequence of steps will be reported. In other words, a user can only enter the funnel once.

Breakdown of Funnel

Breakdown of Funnel in GA4 exploration allows you to break down a funnel by a dimension.  When you include a breakdown dimension, users are only attributed to the first instance of the breakdown value that applies to them. For example, if a  User enters the funnel using a mobile device but completes all the subsequent steps using a desktop then "mobile" is the dimension that will be used to count that user in the subsequent steps. So whatever the first value is for the dimension for that user, that's the value used throughout the funnel.


I hope this clarifies the difference between the two funnel types. If you are still not clear then please contact us at or fill out the Contact Us form.



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